Interview with Marie Radke – finalist of the make me! 2020 and 2022

Five short questions to Marie Radke, finalists of the make me! with the projects “Family Hampel” (2020), “Volta” (2022) and “First Aid Gloves” (2022).


What is – in your opinion – the role that designers play in the contemporary world?


We live in times of transformation. We urgently need solutions to deal with the great challenges in the world. A designer must observe and think critically. What is the environment like, in which we work? What materials do I work with? How do we want to live? Climate change, consumption, energy crisis – these are all issues that should concern us. But I also think it’s a role of the designer to bring lightness into life, sometimes with humour. It is extremely difficult to design simple projects that work and strike a nerve with the times. That should not be underestimated.


What in your opinion defines a good project/good design? What are the qualities good project/good design should have?


There are different levels to that. Personally, I always like to see functioning prototypes that are well designed. That starts from the design language, good material up to the colour concept. I like simple and clever solutions that always have a little twist. Besides well-chosen themes that are important for society – communication is also important. The project must be well photographed and communicated in a way that is easy to understand. For me, design is always communication. In an object or on paper/screen.


What is the idea that stands behind the project(s) you submitted for the make me! contest?


Observing actions and gestures in everyday life plays a big role in my design work. I was a finalist in the Make Me Contest with a total of 3 projects. In 2022, twice. That was really great. Once with my work VOLTA, which dealt with the topic of Home&Office. I noticed that in the home office, almost everything is actually there and you almost only need your laptop to work. The only thing that was not optimal: access to power sockets. People had DIY solutions by tying multiple plugs to the desks with cable ties or had to bend over and over again to use a socket. I wanted to design a simple and easy solution for this.


The work FIRST AID GLOVES was also among the finalists in 2022, which I submitted together with my colleague Anna Koppmann. The First Aid Gloves are normal disposable gloves printed with first aid instructions. The instructions are universally understandable by using pictograms that we designed. We have found that too many people die because first aid is not given quickly enough or is given incorrectly. In Germany alone, only one in five people is able to perform first aid correctly. That is too few. The First Aid Gloves reduce the two big barriers: Fear of contact and fear of doing something wrong. We are working together with the German Red Cross to bring the project forward.


In 2020, my bachelor project was one of the finalists. FAMILY HEMPEL is a homage to the classic pile of clothes on a chair. Here I observed that almost all people have this one chair in their bedroom where clothes lie on it that are already worn but don’t need to be washed yet. My aim was to design a a furniture collection, that provides space to be chaotic.


Has make me! design contest helped you (for example in terms of promotion or production/distribution of the project, etc.)? Did it have any influence on your career?


(Not until now) It was a great experience to meet the other finalists at the dinner in Lodz. I was impressed by the effort the organisers made. And let’s see, maybe I’ll come back as a jury member one day 😉


What is the advice you would like to give to young designers?


Question your designs critically and don’t settle too quickly. 🙂 I think it’s important to keep testing your projects in the process. Because only then is there a design process that can often be valuable for your own ideas. And go out! Look around, go to nature or exhibitions. We’ve been on the internet too much in the last two years and we’ve all seen the same things.

Family Helper, design: Marie Radke / form designer’s archive

First Aid Gloves, design: Marie Radke, Anna Komppmann / form designer’s archive

Volta, design: Marie Radke / form designer’s archive